THE Department of Education in the Cordillera Administrative Region (DepEd – CAR) is raising awareness on the importance of strong mental health, especially during the Coronavirus disease pandemic.
In a press conference, DepEd-CAR Regional Director May Eclar said orientations and workshops are conducted to guarantee the psychological readiness of school heads, teachers, parents and learners.
Programs are being implemented by the eight school’s division office in CAR to strengthen mental health awareness.
Relative to strengthening physical and mental resiliency, DepEd Mt. Province conceptualized the "Pankalian Tako" online program, which aims to provide a stage lined to a freedom wall where learners and teachers in public and private schools can speak and let their hearts out, and seek professional help during the quarantine period.
The Pankalian Tako- DepEd Mt. Province page, with its pool of experts, also offers mental healthcare and psychological first aid to teachers and learners amid the pandemic.
“The Covid-19 pandemic and the new system of education may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a new disease could happen and can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Thus, addressing the mental health impact on students, parents, teachers and school personnel has become more important,” DepEd Mt. Province’ Facebook post reads. “Mental health advocates are ready to listen to you when you think you need someone to talk.”
Meanwhile, DepEd Benguet also launched Project Sagana, a local term that means being alert and ready.
Targeting all learners in the province, a three- to five-minute video clip on mental health information and practice tips on strengthening learner’s well-being, resiliency and mental health in light of Covid-19 were relayed in Iloko, Kankana-ey and Ibaloi language.
In Tabuk City, Kalinga partnerships and initiatives are conducted to ensure mental health awareness and psychological support to stakeholders.
Dr. Angie Calatan, DepEd–CAR medical officer, said even before there are actual cases of depression and suicide, they are already trying to build communities to become mentally resilient.
“The best that we can still do today is to make sure that we have prevention, intervention instead of treatment interventions. We give value to the prevention side,” said the physician, citing World Health Organization findings of an increase in mental health concerns and issues especially during the Covid quarantine.
Calatan added being on quarantine is just like being on isolation, with the change of environment, there is an increase in cases of depression, anxiety not only among adults but also among the elders and children.
Mental health is defined by WHO as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully.
As of Wednesday, September 23, more than 400,000 learners are enrolled in the region from Kinder to Grade 12.